Self-help groups help women overcome childhood sexual trauma

January 16th, 2009 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 16 (IANS) Women who have lived through the nightmare of sexual trauma in childhood can help one another overcome these memories by sharing their experiences. One reason why such women don’t talk about their trauma is the fear of being disbelieved. Some of them said that they tried to tell their story but nobody would listen to them.

Others recalled that although their counsellor or doctor gave them a patient hearing, there was still a vital something missing, namely the opportunity to talk to someone in a similar predicament.

“The mental symptoms of abused women can be alleviated through discussions in self-help groups run by the participants,” said GullBritt Rahm who will presenting her thesis on the subject at the Nordic School of Public Health, NHV, in Gothenburg, Sweden.

As a counsellor and psychotherapist, Rahm met a large number of women who have been subjected to sexual abuse. They require professional help where there is knowledge about sexual abuse and its aftermath, said a press release from the institute.

“However, if healthcare staff are going to be courageous enough to ask about and listen to accounts of sexual abuse, then greater knowledge is needed of abuse and the aftermath it can entail,” said Rahm.

She has encountered women within child psychiatry, family counselling and counselling centres for young people, but perhaps most of all within the voluntarily staffed women’s refuge Alla Kvinnors Hus in Karlstad where she worked as a counsellor for women.

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